Monday, September 14, 2009

Cloud Sherpas and Richline Group

Cloud Sherpas is a cloud computing systems integrator and application developer. As a Google Apps Authorized Reseller, Cloud Sherpas helps organizations leverage Google Apps and Google App Engine to dramatically reduce IT expenses. The company delivers deployment, change management, support and development services to commercial, enterprise and educational institutions seeking to adopt cloud computing.

Richline Group, Inc. is the USA’s foremost Fine Jewelry Manufacturer and the largest importer of Gold Jewelry. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.,the Richline Group was formed in 2007, consisting of the combined operations of Bel-Oro International and Aurafin LLC. Headquartered in New York, the company has globally expanded and acquired other major brands and retailers into its portfolio.


As the company thrived, Richline Group acquired a number of smaller businesses in order to grow its customer base and generate more revenue. With the positive growth, however, emerged a bottom-line dilemma. Some of the larger acquisitions ran on rather sizeable IT infrastructures, and Richline Group eventually found itself using four major servers in three different states: New York, Florida, and Rhode Island. Thus, Richline Group began to experience setbacks in both operational efficiency and costs.

The most obvious hindrance was the existence of four different server infrastructures,
especially since each server had belonged to once-autonomous companies. Not surprisingly, each server had had its own unique settings, directory tree structures, etc. As a result, one of Richline's biggest problems was that its employees found it increasingly difficult to communicate with each other. Secondly, Richline Group wanted to cut costs, but building a new, larger network infrastructure to connect all four systems was estimated to be an even costlier undertaking.

Richline Group and Cloud Sherpas decided to consolidate Richline's
750 Outlook users from four different Microsoft Exchange servers to one, simplified solution via Google Apps in order to reduce costs and streamline management. The project required extensive planning, management, and coordination from both Cloud Sherpas and Richline Group management to align all the people responsible for managing the separate infrastructures. Cloud Sherpas also implemented some of Google's provided tools, such as the Google Apps Directory Sync, to successfully collapse the four separate entities into one cohesive, more efficient unit.

As a manufacturer and distributor of precious metal
jewelry products that are sold at thousands of outlets across the world, Richline Group knew better than anyone that its core business was not in the maintenance of a progressively complex IT system. After all, the top-line growth from successful acquisitions needs to be supplemented by decreased costs and increased efficiencies which was accomplished with the implementation of Google Apps. Martin Leidich, Network Manager of Richline Group, put it best when he said, "In collapsing four independent IT infrastructures into one reliable source with Google Apps, Cloud Sherpas allowed us to better allocate our human capital, cut major costs, and focus on growing our business."